Job losses rippling through Victorian communities

Media Release

3rd March 2023

Job losses rippling through Victorian communities.

Victorian regional communities are being dealt the brunt of brutal job and skills losses since the timber supply issues stemming from a Supreme Court order in November 2022 locking up Victoria’s native forests causing mills to close down.

It was announced in 2019 by the State Government that the native timber industry would be phased out by 2030 and since then activists have been relentless in attempting to speed up the process by taking out court injunctions stopping timber harvesting operations leading to short supply.

Timber Towns Victoria President, Karen Stephens said “The loss of jobs in these rural Victorian communities are huge and they are very real. Haulage operators, timber harvesters, industry contractors, mill workers – these are real people, and this is their livelihoods. They don’t know what to do, where to turn. In the town of Orbost for example, we know that almost a quarter of their jobs are going to be directly hit by the immediate lack of timber supply and the indirect jobs hit will be many more. These communities are facing a bleak future and they are enduring unnecessary stress and worry for themselves and their families.”

Furthermore, she said “The slow grinding will of any movement by the Victorian State Government to fix the Timber Code of Practice and avoid continual third-party litigation against VicForests is resulting in people’s livelihoods going down the gurgler”.

Timber Towns Victoria member Cr Sonia Buckley from the East Gippsland Shire Council said “We need local timber, local jobs, and best industry management practices which still requires reform. This can and must be achieved. What is needed is the will of the State Government which sadly under the Andrews Government is not currently present, nor has any evidence been presented by Premier Andrews as to why the decision has been made to close the Timber Industry, which is one of our biggest economic contributors to the region. The Timber Industry machinery and skilled operators also protects Community in times of wildfires.”

Local haulage contractor, Richard Pelz says “100 job loses means 100 families lost to the community, this will destroy Orbost as a community.  It will affect the schools, the local football netball club and the list goes on and on.  These families will be forced to move away just to earn a living and don’t start me on the mental health issue that we are already seeing.  This has been an absolute ‘talk fest’ with no real support from the government”

Karen Stephens

TTV President 0488 900 645

About Timber Towns Victoria

Timber Towns Victoria is the peak local government body for Victoria on forestry policy. It represents 12 Victorian Local Government areas with forestry industries on public or private land. In representing these local councils and the communities that work within the forestry and timber industries, TTV is committed to maintaining sustainable practices to ensure the industry continues into the future.

Quick links

For more information, contact Timber Towns Victoria President, Glenelg Shire Deputy Mayor Cr Karen Stephens, 0488 900 645 or email

Share this post